Besides the obvious wall to wall news coverage here in England, there was little I knew about the extent of the desperation that occurred on deepwater horizon on the 20th of April 2010. The way this tragedy was depicted in this two hour epic was not only thorough and just, but tasteful. Out of respect for those who lost their lives in one of the worst man made disasters in modern history. No punches were pulled in blame, no ambiguity, and although slightly over ‘hollywoodised’ at times the struggle of the crew was illustrated in an incredibly visceral way.
The first 30 minuets give you time to get you invested in the characters, through the focal character Mike Williams, the chief electrical engineer (Mark Wahlberg). I say focal character because we start off within his family environment and then follow him personally onto the rig. Once upon the rig we follow him around Deepwater as he greets all his fellow crew, giving us time to understand who and what everyones roles are in each section of the rig. instantly Mike and his operational supervisor, ‘Mr Jimmy’ (Kurt Russell) are faced with numerous problems, mainly consisting of consistent lack of testing and maintenance. Here is when we are introduced to the visiting BP Executives, fronted by an incredibly intense and particularly scathing performance by John Malkovich. Where despite obvious lack of clarity regarding the drilling equipments safety, brow beats the operators into submission in order to continue drilling and meet company targets. Evidently the mistakes that were made in this scene were almost a prerequisite to the event and then on the rest of the movie.
As i’ve already touched upon, the events depicted are done so in a very clear and structured way, with great pacing. This made is very easy to follow, and allows you to absorb as much detail as possible, not getting bogged down in too many technical terms that inevitably comes with a movie of this ilk.
Peter Berg’s direction made the scenes very inclusive, I mean that in so far as you really feel like a part of the banter and dialogue on the rig. That was a stand out part of the movie for me, often very difficult to do, but the natural feel of the opening 45 minuets got you hooked and invested. Moving on from that when it got down to the nitty-gritty, the cut scenes to the depictions of the pipelines and drill below the rig were great. showing you the flow, the pressure build ups and the blockages. If that was not cut between the scenes, concepts would have been very difficult for me as a non engineer to follow. In addition to that the attention to detail was great, the nature of the movie meant that the facts had to be right, both in terms of engineering and historic out of respect for the families. As the movie developed and things inevitably started to blow up, the score alongside was tremendous and you got a sense of the severity. Palpable and intense, as pressure built up the music just rose with it adding to the experience making it well, nerve-racking to say the least.
Stand out performances
Mark Wahlberg (Mike Williams):
Admittedly, I can safely I have never really enjoyed Marks performances in any movie. Not only are the movies he usually goes for are somewhat cheesy, his performances are never stand out and are often incredibly forgettable. However in this film, the onscreen relationships with not only his family but his colleagues are real. You really get a sense of the connection he has with each and every member of the crew, and the relationship he has with them. Not only that but there are certain sequences (no spoilers) he is in that gave me goosebumps in terms of desperation, vulnerability and relief. Gave me flashbacks to Tom Hanks in Captain phillips, brilliant and touching.
John Malkovich (Vidrine, BP Exec):
Wow, just wow. The few scenes he gets, he steels them and he is very much the focus of attention within that room. Which is evidently what he is trying to create being the BP Executive, however it’s the intensity he brings to his speech. The pauses, the accented parts and the way he literally makes the audience hate him.
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this and I truly think, after reading some factual context that this was a good depiction of the events that happened. The characters were great, evidently i’ve not had time to delve into all of them but they were. The only flaw I have to say I have is that the actual heart of the movie come to soon, in terms of the explosions itself. I felt there could have been a bit more build up of the dialogue and debating before it occurred. That seems an odd thing to pick out and it is, but I really just wanted even more time with the characters than what we got. I can guarantee that will be almost nobody else’s flaw but, there you go. However if you want to see Mark at his best, a great action movie, with good characters, storyline and dialogue then give it a watch! 8/10